We know that blue light destroys our internal clocks, but what can it do to our skin?

If you take a walk in the skin care corridors of any health and beauty vendors, you will find amazing creams and sprays that promise to protect your skin from various dangers.

You may have noticed that skin care products claim that they can protect you from the effects of blue light. If you haven’t thought about blue light before, you will be forgiven for worrying about whether you should worry.

First, you need to understand what blue light is.

Visible light makes up 50 percent of the spectrum of sunlight, and as the name implies, it is the only part of the light that can be detected by the human eye. The blue band of this visible spectrum has a particularly high energy.

The longer the wavelength, the less energy it transmits. Blue light has very short, high-energy waves.

Blue light around you. The sun shines blue. The same is true of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, cell phones, computer screens, and flat-screen TVs.

What are the dangers?

There is evidence that blue light can be harmful to the skin and eyes, disrupting circadian rhythms. As a rule, studies of the effects of sunlight on the skin have focused on ultraviolet radiation, especially UVB radiation, which is responsible for sunburn.

The effect of blue light is often a significant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), highly reactive chemicals derived from oxygen. Too much ROS destroys your DNA and the key enzymes responsible for DNA repair, increasing your risk of cancer.

Our research shows that blue light can cause pigmentation (burning) in all skin types. Although many people consider deep burning to be the most important quality, it is a sign of skin damage and ROS. Other researchers have found that exposure to visible light (including blue light) causes darker pigmentation that lasts longer than ultraviolet radiation.

Our studies have also shown that blue light can activate genes associated with inflammation and photosensitivity (skin damage). Several studies have shown that standard sunscreens do not prevent damage to blue and visible light.

Although blue light appears to be less intense than ultraviolet light, this can be explained by the relatively large amount of blue light reaching the Earth. UVR in the UK around noon on a summer day is about 5 percent of solar radiation. Blue light is about three times as much as about 15 percent.

Blue light has some beneficial effects. It is used to treat skin diseases, including eczema, and is widely used in photodynamic therapy to treat a range of skin conditions, from acne to cancer, and to heal wounds. However, the harmful effects of blue light may outweigh the positive effects for healthy people.

Blue light can damage the skin, but it is unclear which sources of blue light are harmful to humans. The blue light on the screen corresponds to a fraction of the blue light doses we receive. Studies show that device screens can increase ROS production.

However, a study by German skincare manufacturer Biersdorf found that a week’s exposure to blue light from a 30-cm screen is equivalent to one minute of summer lunch in Hamburg, Germany.

Another study found that blue light from screens was 100 to 1,000 times less intense than blue light from the sun. It also failed to induce melasma, which causes skin discoloration in patients with this disease.

In fact, we spend more time in front of screens than ever before, but screens can do some damage, but that’s less important than the effects of the sun.

blue light skin care

Cosmetic industry brands have begun to develop a wide range of skin care products to prevent blue light damage. However, there are no regulated or standardized tests to assess the product’s ability to prevent blue light damage.

Companies conduct scientific tests on these products. However, they can use any number of values ​​in their work. This is very different from the rules around sunscreens, which claim to contain sunscreen (SPF). SPF testing is strictly regulated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). All products containing SPF pass the same test mode.

The lack of regulation of blue light claims makes it impossible for consumers to make informed choices about the level of protection offered and the differences between products.

The lack of this regulation is unlikely to be dangerous for consumers, but the benefits of the products may be limited.

Given the evidence surrounding the blue light emitted from the screens, you should be skeptical of claims that you need a product to avoid damaging the screen of your computer or phone.

Traditional sunscreens (such as sunscreens) usually do not protect you from blue light. This skin care industry is trying to address this need. However, it is important that governments take the next step in the process and develop industry-standardized testing.

At the same time, it is important to remember to limit any effects of the sun. The use of sunscreens (or any product with an SPF rating) can provide additional benefits to products that have been proven to prevent skin cancer and photosensitivity and that promote blue light protection.

Carl Lawrence, Post Doctoral Fellow, Photobiology, London Kings College.

This article was reprinted from The Conversation magazine under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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